Pondering Clinton & Jeb from Paris

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Unexpectedly I got a free day in Paris because United airlines took out of its fleet a plane deemed too risky.  I felt more lucky than frustrated when they decided to tow the plane away from the gate. As a result I got to spend an evening and morning with nearly 300 other stranded passengers, mostly Americans, who shared openly their thoughts about Hillary Clinton’s predictable announcement that she wanted to be in charge of more than the decorations and Easter…

Made in Japan: Fukushima Disaster

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I finally got a chance to read TIME‘s excellent status report on the catastrophic nuclear power plant meltdown in Fukushima, Japan. The piece, “The World’s Most Dangerous Room” was authored by Hannah Beech with photos by Dominic Nahr. Best line in the piece references a statement in the 2012 Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission report (pdf): What must be admitted — very painfully — is that this was a disaster ‘Made in Japan.’  Its fundamental causes are to be found in…

National Geographic Winners

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    Amazing photography, as usual from National Geographic‘s Traveler magazine Annual Photo Contest. Just had to share this prize winner taken by Marko Korošec.  This was his caption: While on storm chasing expeditions in Tornado Alley in the U.S. I have encountered many photogenic supercell storms. This photograph was taken while we were approaching a storm near Julesburg, Colorado, on May 28, 2013. The storm was tornado warned for more than one hour, but it stayed an LP [low precipitation]…

President Obama Honors Lost Korean Students

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President Obama makes symbolic gesture honoring memory of the many students lost in the tragic Sewol Ferry incident. He gives a high school in Korea a beautiful Magnolia tree from the South Lawn of the White House where President Andrew Jackson planted a tree in memory of his wife, Rachel, who died two weeks after. This from New York Times White House correspondent Mark Landler‘s pool report: In memory of the hundreds of students and teachers who lost their lives…

President’s Day Special: Three Books on America’s Founding Era

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Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito makes a habit (hope sharing this doesn’t ruin it) of attending most years a special tribute dinner at George and Martha Washington’s Mount Vernon — some times on the lawn; other times in the newly built history center.  The occasion is the presentation of the George Washington Book Prize, a $50,000 cash prize presented to the best book on America’s founding era. While Justice Alito and I come from fairly different political frames, we agree…

Summers on Inadequate Demand, Growth & Employment

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An exchange this Sunday between CNN’s Fareed Zakaria & former US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers impressed me and follows in full below.  It’s a quick read but offers some no-nonsense analysis of what is not stirring in the US economy.  While Summers lays out the consensus views that demand remains weak, growth too stifled, and employment levels drag — he argues that the government still has options to improve the situation. He points out that the Fed has essentially done…

Reince Needs to Rein in the Nastiness

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Democratic National Committee chairs may have been just as disrespectful and nasty to GOP presidents and they would have been wrong, but RNC Chair Reince Priebus’ nastiness ‘before’ the President’s State of the Union irresponsibly exacerbates the political intolerance and lack of civility rampant in Washington today. In a line of tweets tagged #SOTUinthreewords, Preibus offered one that says “Same Old Lies.” He has not heard the speech but is already, preemptively calling the President a liar. Out of line…

What?? Michael Oren Going to Scowcroft Center

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There are some exceptions, but one of the major failings of Washington’s think tank and policy communities is a general unwillingness to embrace the people and ideas that run counter to an institution’s own. They are contributing to the political and intellectual fragmentation dividing and paralyzing this town. Many years ago, I was critical of what was then called the Toyota Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies because the material and programs they generated so were obsequiously…

If John Bolton Reaches Out to You by Email, Beware

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Much to my surprise a few days ago, I received an invitation from Ambassador John Bolton to hook up with him on LinkedIn. While I have expressed admiration for as well as concerns about the public service that Ambassador Bolton has done for the country, many of his colleagues and perhaps he don’t hold me in the highest regard for the role that The Washington Note played during his confirmation battle when he was nominated to serve as US Ambassador to the…